Why the 2020s Won’t Be Like the Roaring 20s

by Brendan Brown

Reincarnation of the Roaring Twenties—one century on from the 1920s—is the lead speculative narrative this new year on Wall Street, it seems.

The storytellers, well aware of how interest income–famine investors seek “justification” to load up on ever-higher-priced equities and risky credit paper, turn to the history lab with its notoriously small sample sizes. They have spotted that 2021 marks the hundredth birthday of a postwar decade famed for rapid prosperity growth in the US. Bingo: translate postwar into postpandemic.

The narrative deserves to encounter rational skepticism on at least four counts.

First, the government debt explosion during the pandemic is a blight on any emerging prosperity, Paul Krugman and Olivier Blanchard notwithstanding.

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